From patient to paramedic: How a life-changing accident put Jana Biddle on a new path  

Press Release

More than ten years after St John WA paramedics were by her side on the worst day of her life, Jana Biddle has embarked on a new career to help patients through theirs.  

Jana’s life changed in an instant when she was seriously injured in a horrific crash with a drunk driver on a dark night in 2013. 

The aspiring 18-year-old singer was travelling home from a night out with friends through the Perth hills when an oncoming car pulled out onto the wrong side of the highway.  

From the backseat, Jana could just see two headlights rushing towards them before it collided head-on with their car travelling at 80km/h. 

“I just remember feeling immense pain and fear,” she said.  

“I remember being on the phone with Triple Zero (000) and just being so scared and desperate for help. 

“I wanted more than anything to get out of the car, but it had crumpled so badly from the impact, and my pain was so unbearable, I couldn’t open the doors. 

“I can’t even begin to explain the feeling of relief when I could hear the sirens in the distance, knowing that help was on its way. 

“It truly was the worst day of my life.” 

Jana Biddle was hospitalised for weeks after a crash on Great Eastern Highway in 2013.

Jana was in intensive care and hospitalised for weeks after the crash, suffering from a perforated bowel, fractured sternum, collarbone, spine and ribs.  

Having recently graduated from WAAPA at the time of her accident, Jana was forced to put her dreams on hold to focus on her long road to recovery. 

Over the next five years she underwent several surgeries and hours of rehabilitation, with most of her 20s marred by debilitating chronic pain. 

Jana worked in web design and marketing while juggling her recovery over eight years but developed a deep interest in her medical treatment and decided to study paramedicine.  

“I definitely grew up very quickly having experienced trauma like that, and my priorities changed very drastically,” she said.  

“The silver lining is the accident has shaped me to be a strong, resilient and empathetic person, and I don’t think I would be the person I am today without having experienced it.” 

Today, Jana is on her way to becoming a hero in green for someone else, starting a two-year medic program in January to become an ambulance paramedic.   

And last month she was reunited for the first time with one of the SJWA team members who helped save her life.   

St John WA paramedic Barry Donelan and medic Jana Biddle reunited more than a decade after Jana’s terrifying crash.

St John WA paramedic of 15 years Barry Donelan was relatively new to the job himself when he was called out to Jana’s accident in 2013.  

Having also grown up in the hills, Barry said he had often driven past the site of the crash on Great Eastern Highway worried about how dangerous it could be.  

“It was an area that I’ve traveled through quite regularly and I suppose it was always in the back of your mind that this could have been myself or my family,” he said.  

Reuniting with Jana, Barry encouraged her to grab hold of every opportunity to learn and remain empathetic.   

“It’s awesome to see that Jana has taken that experience and turned it into a career,” he said.   

“It’s always nice to know that our assistance has helped someone.” 

Jana said she was excited to be part of the SJWA team and hoped to one day work on the rescue helicopter. 

“I really like the idea of every day being different and being able to provide help and reassurance to people that are going through potentially the worst day of their life,” she said.  

“It’s been a life-changing and incredibly rewarding experience becoming a paramedic. 

“I’m so proud to be here.” 

For more information on joining the team, visit St John Change Lives.

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